Resistance bands, therabands, kinetic bands – these versatile stretchy bands come in a variety of shapes, strengths, sizes and are called different names – but regardless of what you know them as, they can be an excellent supplement to strength and flexibility, which can help prevent injury, for any sport.
Resistance bands are inexpensive, portable, and the number of exercises you can use them for is limited only by your coaching imagination (and resistance training is safe for young athletes, too)! Use lighter bands for younger athletes and the heavier bands for older, more experienced athletes. Educate athletes on the correct technique for each exercise and monitor them during exercise so you can make corrections to posture and form during the exercises.
Here are some great resources for resistance band training and conditioning ideas – some general and some sport-specific:
- Strength Band Training
- Sports Injury Clinic – Resistance Band Training
- Sports Fitness Advisor has animations of a variety of resistance band exercises
- Gymnasts have so many opportunities to use resistance bands! Use them to increase dynamic flexibility, improve jumps, build core strength, strengthen and/or rehab wrists and ankles, and training basic shapes for bars. National Coaching Staff member, Tammy Biggs has many excellent one-minute video segments on using resistance bands for gymnastics via Gymsmarts – view all of her episodes on YouTube as part of The Gymnastic Minute channel.
- Swimmers can use the bands for developing core strength, shoulder and ankle flexibility, and perfecting stroke pull technique.
- Soccer players can use bands for improving ankle and knee strength, speed drills and core strength.
- Even ballerinas can use therabands to improve their technique, foot and leg strength, flexibility and more.
- Resistance Training for the Youth Athlete
- Myosource is a manufacturer of a resistance band product that has videos demonstrating the benefits and how to use resistance bands for many different sports including cheerleading, soccer, track and field, and basketball.
- Womans Day also has a series of videos and tips for resistance band exercises specifically for women.